Joining me today is a fan of all things fantasy and dreams of creating superheroes the reader won’t forget. Jack Hessey is a writer that I met in an online Facebook group called Fellow Writers. Like all the writers that belong to this group, this is a man devoted to creating fantastic fiction. So pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable as we discuss all things writing and how to create great characters that live on in the reader’s imagination.
girl with a quill: If Jack Hessey were a character, how would you describe him?
Jack: I’d be the comic relief I think. I’m a bit clumsy, forgetful etc and often make a few smart remarks. Maybe the bumbling sidekick for the main villain, the guy who gets given the easiest jobs in the world to do yet still ends up messing them up.
girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Jack: About 4 years now. The first few attempts at writing a novel failed, then in late 2009/early 2010 I finished my first novel, Steam Queen.
girl with a quill: Who or what influences your writing?
Jack: I don’t really have any inspiration. I just think of an idea, characters and such and write.
girl with a quill: What aspect of the writing life do you find the most challenging?
Jack: This may sound odd but I’ve always found the query letters to be the hardest. It’s so difficult to condense a hundred thousand word story into a few little sentences and make it sound interesting.
girl with a quill: Do you have a Write time of day set aside or do you write when the inspiration strikes? Jack: I just write when the inspiration hits. I try to write at least for an hour a day when I have an ongoing project.
girl with a quill: Tell us what inspires you as a writer?
Jack: Nothing really, I honestly can’t think of anything that inspires my writing.
girl with a quill: Do you have a Muse?
girl with a quill: Where do you write? Describe your place of writing to us?
Jack: My bedroom. It’s just a plain old bedroom with the usual bedroomy things like a bed, a tv, a PS3 a stack of comic books etc. It’s a bit of a mess but really it’s the only place in the house where I can find the quiet I need to be able to write since downstairs there will be my dad and brother watching television and talking which would be distracting.
girl with a quill: Are you a pen and paper writer/typewriter/digital writer?
Jack: Digital! Writing with pen and paper hurts my hand after a while and I like the option of being able to correct things I wrote if I mess up.
girl with a quill: What genre do you write in and why?
Jack: Anything fantasy. I guess it’s because it’s what I mainly read. Another reason is that it allows me to use all of my imagination without being shackled by what is or is not possible in the real world. By writing fantasy, if I want to include strange, mystical creatures of my own device (I haven’t yet but maybe one day I will!) or magical weapons and superpowers and cool things like that I can do.
girl with a quill: What genre would you like to write in but have not yet? Why?
Jack: I’ve always fancied dabbling in horror. I like horror stories but I honestly don’t think I could manage writing a good horror story. I have more of a fantasy imagination than a horror one.
girl with a quill: Do you have any beta readers or critique partners? Do you think they are a necessary resource for writers?
Jack: I don’t have any so of course, I don’t think they are necessary. I can see how they can be useful though.
girl with a quill: Would you describe yourself as a panster or a plotter?
Jack: Plotter, definitely. I can’t just wing it, I need a clear of idea of where my story will end up and what will happen next. Although sometimes the story does surprise me and takes an alternate route than planned!
girl with a quill: Tell us about your process of getting a new idea for a novel or story?
Jack: Whenever I get the workings of an idea I write it down and go back to it if I think I can develop it into a novel. At the moment there’s a folder on my laptop with 4 or 5 potential story ideas that I may get round too. After I’ve got an idea I think of characters, a storyline and plot out each chapter.
girl with a quill: Are you working on anything now? Can you share a little about your latest WIP?
Jack: A sequel to True Hero? Anyone currently reading or planning to read True Hero? Might not want to read further since it spoils the True Hero? Ending a bit. (warning – contains spoilers**) It follows where True Hero? Left off with Stella, The Fist and Enigma about to carry out their plans of taking on the corrupt superhero team, The Empire. The new major enemy for Stella to face are a group called Trinity. A trio of villains who have secretly being pulling the strings of The Empire and are responsible for the experiments, the cover-ups, the deals with super villains etc that the superhero team have done. **
girl with a quill: What publishing market are you aiming for?
Jack: I’m not sure to be honest. Any who want to read my book!
girl with a quill: There is a lot of talk right now about Digital Publishing (Ebook) versus Traditional Publishing?
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Jack: I like E-Books. They’re much more convenient really. I went away to Sri Lanka a few weeks ago and it felt so much more reassuring to carry around 50-60 books on my kindle than having to try and make the 2-3 books I usually cram into my luggage last for the whole trip!
girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Jack: Character. I can read a poor story if it’s got fun characters but I can’t read a good story if it’s got characters who I don’t like or don’t find interesting.
girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Jack: Erica from Steam Queen because she’s a complete psychopathic nutcase. She isn’t a good person at all and readily admits to that. I think it’s quite unique because in Steam Queen she does end up doing good deeds but it’s mainly for selfish reasons and, although the deeds she does do help a lot of people she doesn’t exactly do them in a heroic fashion.
girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Jack: Ohhhh, this is tough one! Gonna have to go with Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings is a fantastic character. He’s the true hero of the story since without him supporting and helping Frodo, Sauron would have got the ring in a week. He was just a brave, loyal, likeable character. Others that I’ve got a soft-spot for are Luna Lovegood and Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series and I loved Iorek from His Dark Materials.
girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Jack: J.K Rowling, Philip Pullman and Philip Reeve because they are my three favourite writers. Emilie Autumn because she’s an amazing singer and just seems like a really interesting person too. I can’t think of a fifth person to be honest. Maybe George Lucas so I can serve him cold food for messing up Star Wars?
girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why? Jack: 1) Luna Lovegood: She would make the dinner party quite entertaining, she’s awesome. 2) Molly Hayes from Marvel Comics: She’s an 11 year old girl with super strength who once threw Wolverine out of a church and once punched The Punisher in the gut. What’s not to like? 3) Sam Gamgee: So I can serve him a special meal for saving Middle Earth! 4) Yoda from Star Wars: He’ll have some fun stories to tell. 5) Spiderman: I’ve always been a fan of Spidey, he’s just a chilled, funny guy who seems like he’d be cool to hang out with. girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Jack: Edit edit edit! I didn’t edit enough when I wrote Steam Queen and it shows with some of the reviews I’ve gotten where reviewers have picked up on errors
girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Jack: I don’t know really. I’d like to think in 10 years time I’m still writing, maybe “Stop being lazy and write instead of getting distracted all the time?” I could do with following that advice now to be honest.
girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Jack: To be THE author when it comes to superhero stories. You know how when people say horror they think of King, fantasy they think of Rowling, Tolkien and Pratchett, vampires they think of Rice etc? I want when people think of superhero stories to think of Jack Hessey 🙂 Hopefully it’s not too ridiculous a goal. Superhero fiction is a pretty empty market so hopefully I can make myself known in the genre. Preferably make a bit of cash in the old bank account too whilst doing that!
girl with a quill: Tell us where we can find you and your work on the World Wide Web?
Jack: My blog and my website.